By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
Africa’s leading investor, philanthropist founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu, has called for multi-level and aggressive empowerment of youths towards unlocking their potential just as he described youth restiveness as ticking time bomb.
According to him, It is imperative for the security of the nation’s future.
Elumelu identified youth restiveness as one of the causes of banditry, robbery, kidnapping and senseless killings across the country, describing it as a ticking time bomb.
Elumelu spoke at the opening ceremony of a Christian programme tagged, “Joshua Generation International Youth Conference”, in Enugu on Tuesday covered online by Persecondnews.
He disclosed that youths of 25 years and below constitute 70 percent of our population.
He said: “25 years and below constitute 70 percent of our population. However, the unemployment rate in Nigeria has now risen to about 30 percent in March 2021. Some States have as high as 50 percent of unemployed youth population.
“We must accept that we face a crucial period in our history, where youth issues must be the main and central issue of our time. Millions of our young people are entering the job market every year.
“20 million jobs are needed to be created annually to absorb new entrance in the job market, but only about 3 million jobs are created annually across Africa.”
Speaking on the theme of the conference: “Africa: Unlocking our potentials, securing our future”, Elumelu said entrepreneurship is key to harnessing the potential of young Africans.
“We at the UBA Group and Tony Elumelu Foundation have come to believe that the power of entrepreneurship is key to harnessing the potentials of young Africans, and by so doing we are securing our future.
“To unlock the enormous potentials of our youths, we must prioritize to support small businesses we need to improve. We also need tax friendly policies to encourage our entrepreneurs,” he said.
“We must create access to finance for our youths, as access to finance is crucial.
“People have ideas, but what they lack is the training and finance needed for their business to take off,” he stressed.
Earlier, the Anglican Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Rt. Rev. Aloysius Agbo, in his remarks, explained that the ongoing conference is targeted at bringing together over 15,000 youths across the country to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) to raise a new generation of people who will fight corruption, promote the core values of the Anglican Communion and contribute immensely towards the progress of the country.
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